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Getting around

BBC: PDX as transportation visionaries

A few weeks ago, the BBC posted a story about Portland called Where the car is not king. The article talks primarily about the role of public transportation in the Portland transportation mix.

Among other things, I found it very interesting that it was written by Sayeeda Warsi, the Vice Chair of Britain's Conservative Party.

The camera crews were also here filming a segment, again hosted by Warsi. It features Sarah Gilbert, a very prolific Portland blogger, as well as shots of Sam Adams explaining the tram, and that most Portlandish event, a bike move.

Newsnight - Public Services: Public Transport Part 1

Newsnight - Public Services: Public Transport, Part 2

(thanks Kandace of LJ's damnportlanders for the heads up)

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August 30, 2006 | Permalink

Navigating Portland


crossing the Columbia

  • Interstate (a freeway bridge for I-5)
  • Glen Jackson (a freeway bridge for I-205)

crossing the Willamette (from North to South)

  • St Johns*
  • Fremont (a freeway bridge for I-405)*
  • Broadway
  • Steel
  • Burnside
  • Morrison (with access to and from I-5 North)*
  • Hawthorne
  • Ross Island
  • Marquam (a freeway bridge for I-5)*
  • Sellwood*
* pedestrian & bicycle crossing not so good

A fun website to check out if you like bridges is the Bridges of Portland, OR site. A must for bridge enthusiasts.


Portland has interstate access from I-5 which runs north to the Canadian border and south to the Mexico border, I-84 which dead-ends at Portland but goes east almost to Logan, UT. Other freeways handy to know about include Hwy 26 which runs west to the Ocean between Seaside and Cannon Beach, and runs east to Mount Hood, Redmond, and Boise, I-205 which is the eastern suburban loop running from Tualatin to Vancouver, WA, and I-405 which is the western urban loop running thru the city.

Map links

  • Yahoo! Maps or Google Maps will map any address.
  • Paranoid about crime in Portland (in 1997)? Check out this crime map site
    Or, if you have an address or intersection within the city of Portland, and you'd like to see what the neighborhood crime level is really like, check out Portland Maps—that will give you information from within the last month...

Maps in realtime

Pick up real honest to gawd maps at POVA or the Powell's Books Walking Map of Downtown Portland at any Powells Bookstore. If you really want to explore downtown, the Powells Map is the way to go. It lists retail establishments, parks, parking garages, the light rail and streetcar lines, walking routes, fun downtown tidbits, and finally, the oft forgotten but ever so important Automatic Teller Machines.


Portland is a city divided upon itself. It has five quadrants (go figure)—Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast and North. The boundaries to these quadrants are Burnside St, which divides Northeast and Northwest from Southeast and Southwest, and the Willamette River divides the eastside from the westside. North is divided from Northeast by Williams St., and from Northwest by the Willamette River.

Transportation Into Portland

Transportation Around

Tri-Met is the bus and light rail system in Portland. The area of downtown which is bounded by the Willamette River and I-405 (but also including the Rose Quarter and Lloyd Center on the east side) is called fareless square and all transit in this area is free. C-Tran offers bus connections from Vancouver to Portland & vice versa.

Using Tri-Met as your transportation is pretty straightforward and efficient as long as you are travelling within inner NW, downtown, SE, NE and N Portland. If you are staying or visiting the outer westside, it may be easier to rent a car or bum a ride.

Or, if you live close-in, consider carsharing. It's much cheaper than actually owning a car, but gives you the convenience of being able to go to Target or Costco every once in a while. When I last checked, they had 70 cars and trucks. And, they have those hybrid vehicles! 328-FLEX (3539).

Portland is a great town for bicycling, and you can find out more information and how to use your bike to commute at the City of Portland's Bicycle page. Among the resources listed are Bike Central, a program to create convenient services for bike commuters, and The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, which promotes bicycling for safer streets, cleaner air, and energy independence.

Portland is also lauded as a great place to walk because of our short blocks. The City has a Pedestrian Transportation Program as well.

Getting Around Portland from the City's Office of Transportation provides links to all sorts of information on, well, you know.

Fun facts

The streets north of Burnside started out in alphabetical order. In inner Northwest, they still are. It goes like this: Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett, Flanders, Glisan, Hoyt, Irving, Johnson, Kearney, Lovejoy, Marshall, Northrup, Overton, Pettygrove, Quimby, Raleigh, Savier, Thurman, Upshur, Vaughn, Yeon.

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August 24, 2005 | Permalink

Union Station

Built in 1896 of brick in the Italian Renaissance style.

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May 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walking in Portland

Able-bodied people will have no problem walking a block in a minute. If you're in a hurry, racewalking, or being a New Yorker, you could easily halve that.

A mile is equivalent to about 21 Portland blocks.

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May 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)



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